Use state budget for North-South Expressway sections: government

By Dat Nguyen   March 27, 2020 | 01:26 am PT
Use state budget for North-South Expressway sections: government
An artist's impression of the Cam Lo-La Son section of the North-South Expressway. Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Transport.
The government is proposing that the state budget be used to build eight North-South Expressway sections earlier planned as private-public-partnership (PPP) projects.

The Government Office said in a statement Thursday that it would propose this change to the Politburo, the main decision-making body of the Communist Party of Vietnam, and to the National Assembly.

The statement follows a Transport Ministry proposal submitted earlier this month that these projects be funded by state budget, after Vietnamese investors said they were finding it difficult to acquire funding from banks.

The government could allow private companies to operate these projects after they are finished to recoup its investment, the transport ministry suggested.

The government should spend VND29.5 trillion ($1.26 billion) on the first three most urgent projects, and the remaining VND44.5 trillion ($1.9 billion) on the remaining five between 2021 and 2025, it said.

The Ministry of Planning and Investment voiced support for the proposal. It suggested that contractors are appointed so that construction could begin soon.

The eight private-funded expressway projects are part of the 11 sections of the North-South Expressway, with construction already ongoing at the three remaining state-funded sections

Last year, the Transport Ministry had tried to find foreign investors for these projects, but very few passed the qualification round, which meant low competition between bidders.

It then decided that only domestic investors would be allowed in these projects to "ensure national security and expand Vietnamese firms’ capability in constructing infrastructure."

The government also proposed Thursday that two other major transport projects are funded by the state – the 23 km My Thuan – Can Tho Expressway, connecting the southern Vinh Long Province with Can Tho City; and runway repairs at the airports in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Contractors should be appointed for these two projects, the proposal said.

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